LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Jim Fregosi, manager of the American Association champion Louisville Redbirds, credits the team for his award as best manager in minor league baseball.

Fregosi was named National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs Manager of the Year by The Sporting News, a national weekly sports newspaper.

The 43-year-old manager who is in Venezuela managing the Aragua club this winter, said the award also belongs to his players and coaches.

''It was my most gratifying year. I thought it was our toughest year in Louisville, and maybe the best job we've done,'' he said in a telephone interview.

The Redbirds, the Triple-A farm club of the National League pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals, started the 1985 season slow but went on to win the Eastern Division title with a strong finish. They beat Oklahoma City in five games in the best-of-seven series for their second straight championship.

Fregosi's first Louisville club led the American Association in regular season victories in 1983, but lost in the playoff finals to Denver. In 1984, the Redbirds swept the playoffs for the championship.

His overall won-lost record with the Redbirds, including playoff games, is 246-211.

Fregosi is expected to return for a fourth season as the Redbirds' mdnager in 1986.

He was a six-time American League All-Star player with the California Angels and managed that club from June 1978 to May 1981. In 1979, the Angels won the Western Division title but bowed to Baltimore in the AL championship series.